How to Identify & Beat Online Job Scams

This multimedia immersive is part of our series of guides – Scamguard – that aims to raise awareness on online scams.

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Have you received such texts? Do you know what happens when you respond to them?

Do you know how scammers impersonate as government authority to dupe their targets?

Recently, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) shared the below video explaining how scammers are making websites impersonating the government sites to cheat people of their money.

  1. One can see how different fraudulent websites were created, which asked for registration fees.
  2. Mimicking domain names and official websites are some of the ways scammers are duping people.

Earlier, PIB had also debunked a fake message which talked about the government recruiting people under the "Rashtriya Jeevandayee Arogya Swasth Sanstha/Yojana". The registration fees for the 'opportunity' was Rs 1650. However, there was no such scheme.

In the below screenshot, you can see an X user named 'Pallavibordoloi' sharing their WhatsApp chat offering a job opportunity from Infosys.

  1. However, it can be seen that the supposed employer does not ask for the person's CV or any qualifications.
  2. What seems weird is why would an Information Technology (IT) company like Infosys ask potential candidates to review YouTube videos?
  3. The user too pointed out that they think the opportunity was a scam.

When another user named 'Bhavya' tweeted to Infosys that they received a similar message from an individual posing to be a recruitment manager from Infosys, the official handle of Infosys replied by saying that the message seems to be fraudulent.

The experience shared by X handle @GO2Peak offers some key insights. They received a freelance employment opportunity from an individual who was falsely posing as a consultant from Wipro.

The scammer also shared a picture of their identification card to prove that they are indeed working with Wipro.

However, a simple Google Lens search revealed that the picture of the woman was taken from this college website.

See how in this video

So are there ways to know if the text received is from a recruiter or an impersonating scammer?

Look at this message where one Sonia is reaching out to a person for a part-time job offer. What can you notice?

If you search +84 on Google, you will find that it is Vietnam's calling code. It can be one indication that the WhatsApp user as well as the job offer are not authentic.

One closer look at the text will help you identify the grammatical mistakes. For example - The WhatsApp user says, "Do you interest on working online."

  1. It should be noted that such grammatical mistakes are extremely rare in real job offers.
  2. Improper capitalisation and spacing are some other indicators.

There's something common between the example shared above and this one. Did you notice it too?

  1. In both these cases, the WhatsApp users have deliberately not mentioned their companies' name.
  2. Rather, they have used a company which is popular and known across the world.
  3. Now, here's the problem. Almost no employer would hide the name of the company while approaching potential candidates.

Almost all these job opportunities have unrealistic monetary benefits for a simple job.

If the company is promising you high returns such as Rs 5,000 or 10,000 for an hour's work, chances are the job offer is fake.

Constant texts, asking people why they are not interested, and why they are not replying are some of the most common indicators of a scammer offering a job.

These scammers tap into people's emotions and try to prod them to accept the offer. Saying something like it is a good opportunity and it will give you extra income are some other indicators.

Now that you have learnt how to identify scams, do you think you are ready to beat the scams? Test your Scamguard abilities through this

Scam or not quiz

So how many scammers were you able to identify?

Now that you have learnt how to identify scams, do you think you are ready to beat the scams? Test your Scamguard abilities through this

Scam or not quiz

So how many scammers were you able to identify?

While receiving such texts, one thing to question is – how do these scammers get our contacts in the first place?


Let's take a moment here and analyse how these scammers get our contact details so easily.

The scammers may get their hands on our contact details by buying databases on the dark web from various data breaches that has happened in the past.

– according to Sandeep Kumar Shukla, a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department of IIT Kanpur.

"They [scammers] also actually scrape social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. A lot of people put their mobile number on there. So that's another way they actually scavenge contact details," Professor Shukla told.

We should not give out our contact details so easily, be it for some sort of scheme or during shopping, as it might be misused by an individual.

But do the scammers target a particular group or a demographic while carrying out their plans?

"Scammers usually cast a wide net. Essentially, what that means is they're not trying to contact any specific demographic. Because it's cheaper and easier to just blast communication to a set of phone numbers which they know to exist as opposed to having to sort of comb through specific niche target groups." Karan Saini, a security researcher at Infosec Clinic told The Quint.

Very often, while targetting the victims, scammers try to exploit the gullibility and emotions of the people.


The Quint Spoke to Rituparna Ghosh, a clinical psychologist with Apollo Hospitals, to understand why people respond to such 'too good to be true job' opportunities.

"So what happens especially with young children and youth who are looking for jobs, is they have this intense urge to earn money in a short period of time and they get very impulsive. The online job scammers come up with a very lucrative offer and the way they put it forth, people get swayed away and fall into that trap."

Ghosh further mentioned that the scammers exploit these emotions by advertising these jobs in a manner where people feel that they can fulfill their dreams without putting in much effort.

Arman Khan, a victim of online job scam, narrated their experience and told The Quint that he was defrauded of around Rs 24,000. He was approached on Telegram and asked to invest Rs 1,000 in the beginning. However, when Khan was again asked to add Rs 2,000 he declined. The scammers did not give up.

Khan said that the scammers continued texting him and showed him pictures where one could see people earning profits on their investments. This prompted Khan to keep investing which eventually let him to be cheated of his money.

Smriti Joshi, Chief Psychologist at Wysa, explained that the scammers create an element of trust by putting false testimonials for social proof. She said, "Creating an illusion that so many people have benefited from their offers and this taps into the human tendency to trust into recommendation by others."

Joshi said that scammers create messages that trigger empathy, compassion, and even share stories of other people's hardships and how the investment helped them to get out of it.

An article published in Science Direct in 2017 said that –

Since scams are often designed to incite an emotional response, people may not base their judgement on "systematic consideration of the various risks and benefits". It added that confirmation bias and hindsight bias also play a role in people falling for online scams.

The article further said that "the impact of emotions on responding to online scams has largely been neglected, despite the fact that current emotional states may lead individuals to make decisions that are seemingly irrational to an outsider."

After all being said...


For starters, you must always be prudent while dealing with 'too good to be true' offers, and make a mental checklist to scrutinise them.

For example, as Professor Shukla told, if somebody is offering high returns on small investment or giving a large amount of money, then people should not believe that.

He said, "It is as we were told when we were a kid by parents that do not speak to strangers." He further emphasised on using credible sources and mentioned that if a person needs to connect to any organisation, then they should refer to official websites, rather than depending on third-party websites.

Saini mentioned that if a person simply ignores such messages or does not respond to such communication on their WhatsApp, then a major part of the problem is solved.

"If you receive any unsolicited communication on your WhatsApp, you just ask yourself why you would have received it to sort of analyse it in a more critical fashion and not respond to it as if someone that you know. And if that's done, then I think most of the problem is defeated there itself."

Countless people are targeted daily by such fraudsters.


"It all began with a seemingly exciting opportunity... I received a random WhatsApp message about a part-time social media influencer job. Eager to earn some extra income, I registered myself and started with an initial investment of just Rs 5,000," Sukumar (name changed at the request of the victim), a resident of Hyderabad and a victim of online job scam, told The Quint.

Sukumar was encouraged by small profits and kept investing which led him to perform several tasks. However, the promised returns soon vanished and he lost around Rs 1,00,000.

But is Sukumar the only one who got trapped in the scam?

No. This is one such isolated incident from a long list.

The Hindu published a report that said around 15,000 people from the country have fallen for these online job scams.

The officials have said that they have received complaints of people losing a hefty amount ranging from Rs 80 lakhs to Rs 1 crore.

A woman from Maharashtra's Nashik fell into the scammer's trap and ended up losing Rs 15 lakh in a work-from-home job scam case. The accused contacted the victim on an instant messaging app in April.

In a span of three days, scammers duped about 15 people of over Rs 1.6 crore in Hyderabad. One of the victims, who serves a central government employee, lost Rs 90 lakh in one month.

From software engineers to managers, all these people were well-educated and yet fell into the trap of fraudsters.

According to Mumbai cyber police's data, about 65 people were defrauded in the first four months of 2023.

The age group which was mostly targeted was between 25 and 55.

Sure, you may not have faced the misfortune of being scammed yet, but online scams are becoming more sophisticated. It's just a matter of a new scamming tactic that you become one of the victims.

Summary: How to Identify & Beat Online Job Scams

  • The most usual route that a job scammer uses to target their potential victims is either by impersonating as government authority or by posing as a recruiter of a reputed company.
  • Use reverse image search on recruiter's image to check if the image is taken from another site. This may help in identifying fake recruiters.
  • As a checklist, look for these red flags on the messages offering jobs– sender's number having a foreign country code, grammatical mistakes in the text, not being transparent about the job, high renumeration for an easy job, exploiting your emotions to influence you to take up the job.
  • Scammers may get access to our contact details from different sources, including social media platforms, e-commerce sites, etc. Be vary about where you are giving out your contact details.
  • Scammers trigger empathy, compassion, and even share stories of other people's hardships and how they are helping them to get out of it. So, always be prudent while dealing with 'too good to be true' offers, and make a mental checklist to scrutinise them.
  • If a person simply ignores such messages or does not respond to such communication on their WhatsApp, then a major part of the problem is solved.
Save this guide and share it around to aware your closed ones about the growing menace of these scams.


Abhishek Anand

Landing page made using Midjourney, directed by Kamran Akhter
Comic made by Sourav Dihingia
Scamguard logo designed by Vibhushita Singh

Naman Shah

Abhilash Mallick

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